Why "Bad" Foods are Good For You
Think dietitians don’t eat cake? Of course they do, and you should too. So says a newly updated position paper by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Simply put, they don’t support labeling foods as "good" or "bad" and instead support a “Total Diet Approach to Healthy Eating.” With this news we offer up some reasons why it’s actually good to eat "bad" foods.
Practice Makes Perfect
Study after study has proven that those on restricted diets have more cravings. More cravings and desire for restricted foods can derail your healthy eating. If you can learn how to eat healthier foods while also learning how much of the “bad” stuff is enough, you’ll be in a better place mentally. By gaining confidence in your ability to control yourself, you’ll throw off the shame and guilt that comes with labeling foods you love as "bad". With the freedom of a clear conscience and the confidence of when to say when, you may do a better job at controlling emotional and stress eating as well. You’ve heard practice makes perfect. Well you can’t practice if you lock yourself out of the gym.
We’ve got birthday cake, Thanksgiving pies, and Christmas dinner. All of which include food indulgences as part of the festivities. Add to that the bevy of children’s milestones and other holidays and you’ve got way too much celebrating to do to deny yourself tasty treats in the name of being “good.” Most, if not all, these occasions carry with them a celebratory tone which usually is coupled with eating more than you should. This is normal. Let me say this, people who are a healthy weight overeat from time to time. So, eating something "bad" is not what makes or keeps you fat. It’s doing it way more often than you eat healthy foods, exercise, and control portions. It’s ok to taste something rich and fattening. It’s not ok to have that become an everyday, all day practice.
Stop the Obsession
I know it’s possible with this site, but you shouldn’t know the calorie count of everything you eat. Having a fixation to know and control every single calorie isn’t realistic. Are you going to ask for a nutrition label for your grandmother’s cookies recipe? We hope not. If you know you’re eating healthy most of the time, it’s easy to allow yourself a treat every so often. Do you check the driver’s manual at every turn or would you ask to be trained for a job you’ve been doing for 5 years. No. The reason why is because you know that you know what you’re doing. If you’re new to eating healthy, of course you need to strategize and be detailed about what you eat. That’s why dietitians are available to help you plan meals, and give you advice about navigating your new healthy eating outlook. But as you continue on the journey, it’s OK to take the training wheels off sometimes and trust yourself. The challenge to balance what you eat with a little bit of pleasure is a tough one, but it can be done.
For the Total Diet Approach to Healthy Eating report in its entirety, click here.
How has your perspective of “bad” foods changed during your weight loss journey?